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Anna Karenina 195


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Anna Karenina

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a dream, but a problem which must be solved. And it seemed to him that the problem could be solved, and that he ought to try and solve it. After saying good-night to the ladies, and promising to stay the whole of the next day, so as to make an expedition on horseback with them to see an interesting ruin in the crown forest, Levin went, before going to bed, into his hosts study to get the books on the labor question that Sviazhsky had offered him. Sviazhskys study was a huge room, surrounded by bookcases and with two tables in it--one a massive writing table, standing in the middle of the room, and the other a round table, covered with recent numbers of reviews and journals in different languages, ranged like the rays of a star round the lamp. On the writing table was a stand of drawers marked with gold lettering, and full of papers of various sorts. Sviazhsky took out the books, and sat down in a rocking-chair. "What are you looking at there?" he said to Levin, who was standing at the round table looking through the reviews. "Oh, yes, theres a very interesting article here," said Sviazhsky of the review Levin was holding in his hand. "It appears," he went on, with eager interest, "that Friedrich was not, after all, the person chiefly responsible for the partition of Poland. It is proved..." And with his characteristic clearness, he summed up those new, very important, and interesting revelations. Although Levin was engrossed at the moment by his ideas about the problem of the land, he wondered, as he heard Sviazhsky: "What is there inside of him? And why, why is he interested in the partition of Poland?" When Sviazhsky had finished, Levin could not help asking: "Well, and what then?" But there was nothing to follow. It was simply interesting that it had been proved to be so and so. But Sviazhsky did not explain, and saw no need to explain why it was interesting to him. "Yes, but I was very much interested by your irritable neighbor," said Levin, sighing. "Hes a clever fellow, and said a lot that was true." "Oh, get along with you! An inveterate supporter of serfdom at heart, like all of them!" said Sviazhsky. "Whose marshal you are." "Yes, only I marshal them in the other direction," said Sviazhsky, laughing. "Ill tell you what interests me very much," said Levin. "Hes right that our system, thats to say of rational farming, doesnt answer, that the only thing that answers is the money-lender system, like that meek-looking gentlemans, or else the very simplest.... Whose fault is it?" "Our own, of course. Besides, its not true that it doesnt answer. It answers with Vassiltchikov." "A factory..." "But I really dont know what it is you are surprised at. The people are at such a low stage of rational and moral development, that its obvious theyre bound to oppose everything thats strange to them. In Europe, a rational system answers because the people are educated; it follows that we must educate the people--thats all." "But how are we to educate the people?" "To educate the people three things are needed: schools, and schools, and schools. "But you said yourself the people are at such a low stage of material development: what help are schools for that?" "Do you know, you remind me of the story of the advice given to the sick man--You should try purgative medicine. Taken: worse. Try leeches. Tried them: worse. Well, then, theres nothing left but to pray to God. Tried it: worse. Thats just how it is with us. I say political economy; you say--worse. I say socialism: worse. Education: worse." "But how do schools help matters?" "They give the peasant fresh wants." "Well, thats a thing Ive never understood," Levin replied with heat. "In what way are schools going to help the people to improve their material position? You say schools, education, will give them fresh wants. So much the worse, since they wont be capable of satisfying them. And in what way a knowledge of addition and subtraction and the catechism is going to improve their material condition, I never could make out. The day before yesterday, I met a peasant woman in the evening with a little baby, and asked her where she was going. She said she was going to the wise woman; her boy had screaming fits, so she was taking

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